Transitioning to Solids: What You Should Know

I couldn’t wait for the day that my daughter began her transition from milk to solid food– to see the expressions of interest, excitement, even disgust. I couldn’t wait to watch my baby experience food, especially since it is something I love so much. But, I worried; I am a mother after all.  

I have read the news about childhood obesity, and childhood diabetes rates increasing in America. Then there are the more immediate concerns: allergies, choking, etc. You know the questions, I’m sure you’ve thought them too. The only thing I knew for sure is that every baby develops at slightly different rates, and has different preferences. On to the adventure of learning about my own baby.


Baby Led Weaning (BLW)

I admit, I’m a crunchy mom. I’ve personally tried it all. I’ve been vegan, Paleo, even gluten free for a short time. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that I tried BLW first. “Baby Led Weaning, quite simply, means letting your child feed themselves from the very start of weaning,” according the site (which has lots of resources and tips.) I thought, “great! This is the most ‘natural’ approach, isn’t it? I mean people didn’t have high powered blenders 100 years ago, and their babies learned to eat!” What I had forgotten: my reasoning was the same I used when I began to eat Paleo. Neither experience lasted very long, because I hadn’t fully thought things through. I learned, through experience, what works with the lifestyle of my family.

This is how it went: One morning, at almost 6 months, my excitement to feed baby L was so great that I couldn’t wait any longer. I cooked a sweet potato, let it cool, and gave it to her in a chunk to gnaw on. ”Babies will not choke,” they said. “They will not eat a lot, but just gnaw to get the hang of things,” they said. Well, not my baby. She wanted sweet potato, and she wanted it in her belly, now! I quickly removed the chunk from her hands and mouth when she began gagging. I couldn’t wait to see if she was going to figure out how to fix it herself.


Dr. Sears Method

I quickly re-analyzed the situation and went back to Google. Dr. Sears came up next. His baby-feeding technique involved mashing food, unlike BLW (but not to the extent of puree), and feeding baby with your own fingers, instead of using a spoon. 

This is how it went: I took the sweet potato and mashed it with the back of a fork, making a lumpy paste on the tray in front of her. I picked it up with my clean hands, and put it in her mouth. She looked disgusted. I watched in amazement, and tried giving her a little more. She was interested. After a few bites, she seemed to be enjoying herself. success! 

I tried the same approach, following the recommended 3-4 day waiting period before trying another food. In the same fashion, baby L has tried banana, peas, carrots, broccoli, avocado, peaches, pears and black beans and more.  As soon as she starts playing with the food, or looking around, I know meal time is over, which prevents most food-flinging.


  • Every day, for three meals, my baby is a huge mess! After buckling her in each meal, I put a tea towel over her lap and around her waist, snap on a bib, and roll up her sleeves. You see, rather than feeding with a spoon from a jar, most of the time, baby’s food is directly on her tray.
  • After each meal, I wipe off her hands, mouth, shirt, chair, tray, and sometimes floor and wall.  
  • I also have more time put into meal prep since I make the food myself, which means, of course…
  • More dishes– pots and pans, as well as food storage devices. 


  • At 7.5 months old, baby L let me know that she was ready to take more control. She is beginning to feed herself avocado, pear and squash. Other foods are too messy, even for me, or too difficult for her to grasp and I continue to feed her with a spoon. But, I am so proud of her for the effort she puts in, and the independence she is gaining!
  • I haven’t priced everything out, but another positive factor is cost. This weekend I made broccoli and apple mix, which cost about $.32 per container.
  • I know that the food is fresh when cooked, and has the texture and flavor that I choose.
  • I can add spices or flavors when and where I find appropriate.
  • Finally, the other night, the whole family shared the same meal: sweet potatoes, black beans, avocado (plus seasoning and tortillas for the adults)!  Thus far, this approach is leading to an (crossing my fingers) easy transition to truly solid food. 

Jarred Baby Food

I was less than impressed when my pediatrician handed me a photocopied list of foods and food-types (from puree to food puffs) supplied to her by a well-known baby food/clothing company. I was skeptical. Of course the company wants me to buy their food from infant to toddler! On the other hand, the convenience is there. On a weekend away, I bought jarred food for the sake of convenience (pre-made, disposable, no refrigeration necessary, yes ma’am!). But, it was odd feeding baby L some of the same foods she is used to, in a near-liquid form. For me, that was a sign that I was indeed on the right track toward my own baby-feeding goals. 

What we ended up with: A little of everything.

I heartily admit that my baby-food-philosophy would be different if I was working outside of the home, or if money wasn’t an issue. But one thing I have a lot of is time, and the opposite is true for cash, so this is what works for me! I’ll be following up this post with some recipes and resources on baby food making and storage.

One thing I haven’t learned yet– how to get food stains out of clothes!

What works for you when feeding your little one? Do you wish you had done anything differently? I’d love to learn from your experiences!

Note the empty cereal bowl and full cup of coffee-- Momma's gotta eat too!
Note the empty cereal bowl and full cup of coffee– Momma’s gotta eat too!


  1. Would love to see some of your recipes and storage suggestions! Baby S has struggled with breastfeeding and spitting up, so we can’t wait to start soild food!

  2. Hi Emilie! I enjoy reading your blog! Victoria is 4.5 months old and I also can’t wait to start her on solids! We will probably start right about 6 months as well. But I did give her a carrot just to suck on for a bit the other day and she loved it! Did you ever give baby (rice) cereal? And if so, at what age?


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